YOUR “WINTER/FALL 2021-22 TA COUTURE COLLECTION” WAS INSPIRED BY SUSTAINABILITY. YOU EXPLORED HOW TO CREATE ONE-OF-A-KIND CLOTHES USING SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS. SOME OF THE MOST AMAZING FABRICS WERE THE VEGAN LEATHER, MADE FROM CACTUS, AND “PEACE SILK,” WHERE THE SILKWORMS ARE GIVEN THE TIME TO DEVELOP INTO MOTHS. WHERE DID YOU UNCOVER THESE MATERIALS, AND WERE THEY DIFFICULT TO USE AS YOU EXECUTED YOUR VISION?
We have been experimenting with sustainable materials for over 20 years, including them in our designs. To name a few, red wine dyed organic silks and organic cottons for gowns and cocktail dresses and, also hemp fabric for suits. This is the first time we have created an entire collection out of sustainable materials. We researched globally for new materials and found vegan leather made out of cactus, one of our favorites. We had to experiment with it for the construction of garments like bustiers, pants, and jackets, and for accessories, into a little handbag which has been a hit. We designed a jacket with peace silk twill, which has structure and is very soft to the touch at the same time. Also, peace silk organza, this fabric gets its natural stiffness and “body” from sericin, the stiff gum that holds the silkworm cocoon together. Most silk fabrics have been “degummed,” meaning the sericin gum is removed, and only the silk fibers remain. This organza has an extra crisp texture, great for ruffles and structured voluminous sheer skirts or sleeves.
I NOTICED THAT YOU ALSO USED NATURALLY WHITE SILKS WHICH WERE DYED WITH RED WINE AND OTHER NATURAL COLOR DYES. AS YOU CREATED THIS COLLECTION, DID YOU CREATE THE FABRICS FIRST PRIOR TO YOUR VISION, OR WERE THEY CUSTOM MADE FOR A SPECIFIC LOOK?
The theme of the collection was “sustainable fabrics and materials.” We sourced the fabrics before finalizing the designs. The color palette used was “Poetic Lilac/Fall 22,” which perfectly fit our red wine-dyed fabrics, natural and off-white silk colors, gold and cream vegan leather, and the deep magenta and violet eco-triacetates.
TA COUTURE RECEIVED SEVERAL AWARDS FOR YOUR WORK IN CREATING SUSTAINABLE DESIGN, SUCH AS: THE “ECO-COUTURE PIONEER” BY THE ARTHUR MARSHALL FOUNDATION AND THE FIRST PRIZE FOR ECO-COUTURE BY BORN FREE USA. WHY IS THIS ISSUE SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I care about our environment and about how we treat the resources our planet provides for us. Sadly, the fashion industry is one of the largest polluters, and, working in this sector, it is important to me that I do my part not just for the present but for our children’s future and generations to come. By creating this type of fashion, I would like to inspire established and upcoming designers to consider and practice sustainability during sourcing, design, and manufacturing processes. As designers, the more we demand from our suppliers to provide ecologically viable products, the more variety we will have to work with while becoming more affordable.
YOU HAVE A FASCINATING BI-CULTURAL BACKGROUND WITH AN AMERICAN MOTHER AND A VENEZUELAN FATHER, BOTH RETIRED MILITARY. HOW HAVE THEY INFLUENCED YOUR CAREER?
I am fortunate to have supportive parents, where good education and discipline are always a priority. They nurtured my creative inclinations during my youth and taught me to be the best I could be in the profession I decided to pursue.
I HAVE HEARD THAT YOU STARTED DESIGNING AND SEWING IN HIGH SCHOOL, WHICH WAS A CLEAR HARBINGER FOR YOUR FUTURE CAREER. WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THOSE FIRST CLIENTS THAT STILL RESONATES WITH YOUR WORK TODAY?
During my high school years, I sewed and designed for my family and myself. And it is incredible that my first custom-made client from our early business years in Miami is still my client and, over time, also my friend. I feel extremely fortunate about the long-lasting relationships I have with most clients to this day.
YOU ARE KNOWN FOR YOUR INCREDIBLE COUTURE HEADWEAR, SUCH AS HAND-MADE HATS AND FASCINATORS. HOW DID YOU START DESIGNING ACCESSORIES? ARE THESE ACCESSORIES STILL IMPORTANT TODAY?
Millinery was part of the curriculum of my fashion studies while in Venezuela. Once I moved to Miami after graduating with a fashion degree from Marymount University, my first fashion job was as an assistant designer at a hat company called “Forget Me Not.” Millinery, when designed and allocated beautifully, completes any outfit and makes a statement. Bridal veils and tiaras for a wedding, fascinators, and hats for a luncheon or wedding, a fedora or caps are great accents for certain looks. Millinery and accessories like handbags are fashion tools and a necessity to perfect a look. Through fashion, we present ourselves to others in a non-verbal way that expresses more than words, how we want to be perceived.